Thursday, June 29, 2006

Need a Laugh?

These are the winners of the "Dark & Stormy Night competition, which is a compilation of the most heinous felonies committed on the English language by high school students.

There is a new batch every year which speaks disastrously to the prospects for American education, but delightfully for those who enjoy dark humor. Like the annual Darwin Awards, these are the real deal originating from actual high school essays. The analogies and metaphors are wince-inducing. Beware, but enjoy.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently
compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at highschools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of Ecoli and he was room-temperature Canadian Ham.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of
his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly
surcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling
ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19pm at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a
real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if
she were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Update on Sweet James


No Time for a Real Post

So I'll entertain you with a quiz, which actually turned out very accurate...I was raised in the West and now have spent twelve years in the South.

Your Linguistic Profile:
65% General American English
30% Dixie
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
0% Yankee

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Fake Husband

Yesterday Elizabeth came into the kitchen where I was doing dishes and said in her best pretend manner, "Hello, ma'am, these are my twenty-five children." After I greeted her imaginary children, she said, "And this is my husband, Roy Rogers."

"Hello, Roy Rogers," I said.

"Just pretend he's answering, because he's fake," she told me. "But don't tell him that. He doesn't like it."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Renovation of the Heart

Earlier this year I read Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard. It's one of the top 10 books I've ever read, right up there with Mere Christianity and other great classics of the faith. (Billy says that this book has impacted him more than any other book he's read except the Bible.) This was for several reasons. One, it spoke to issues dear to my heart: namely Christian growth into Christlikeness and our ability to change because of Christ. I've always used the Christianese term "victorious Christian living" and Billy has referred to it as "tearing down strongholds"--but Dr. Willard uses the accurate term "spiritual formation". Our souls are all spiritually formed, the question is, by what? Are we formed into Christlikeness? Can we change? How?

Other things I love about this book are that Dr. Willard speaks with authority yet humility, and that he writes without falling into the tired old "Christian insider" language that so many writers, speakers, and ordinary Christians do (and I include myself here). Dr. Willard is respected across the spectrum of Christianity from Emergent's Brian McLaren to professors in the conservative seminary Billy attends. It's not an easy read. I'm a fast reader, and it took me a couple months to wade through and digest it. But it was well worth all the effort.

Central to Dr. Willard's philosophy of Christian spiritual formation is the acronym VIM: Vision, Intention, and Means. In order to become properly spiritually formed, I first must have a vision for where I want to go, a mental picture of what life will look like when I am conformed to Christ's image. Then I must make up my mind to do it, no matter what kind of hard work I must engage in to get there. I must set myself on a path of growth by the grace of God. I must intend to do it. And finally, I must recognize and exercise the means by which this change and growth will take place. This will be somewhat different for each person, but it might include certain spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, solitude, fasting, and journaling; reading biographies of great Christians who lived in ways that characterize the Christian graces I lack; time spent in the presence of Christ-followers who are farther down the road of formation than I am; spiritual retreat; and a host of other possibilities. Ultimately, spiritual formation happens when we raise the white flag of surrender over our lives. In fact, the white flag is on the cover of Renovation of the Heart. Commitment, Dr. Willard says, leaves us in control. Surrender acknowledges that we are giving control to a power higher than ourselves.

Dr. Willard, who teaches philosophy at USC as a missionary to the academic community, has been called today's C.S. Lewis. Billy had the privilege of interviewing him earlier this year when we went to California. Billy said that far more than just the information Dr. Willard shared with him, he learned from his presence. He was impressed especially by the genuine aura of Christian grace in Dr. Willard's life. It's an aura, a presence, that can't be faked, but must come from true apprenticeship to Jesus. Knowing that Dr. Willard's message is personally evident in his life, rather than just being so much information in black and white, gives even more credence to this great work.

Now there is a video curriculum for Renovation of the Heart, which we are doing on Sunday nights at church. I am so excited that this fell during our summer break when I am not teaching AWANA, because this study is one I didn't want to miss. Billy recommends to our class that they participate in the study first to get on overview of the principles of spiritual formation, and then read the book later if they desire to dig deeper. Unless you're one who loves to read and finds philosophical and theological works fun, it would be easy to get bogged down by the book at first glance. I know, personally, that I will benefit more from reading the book again once I have this overview. There is also a simplified version of Renovation available called Reformation of Character, as well as a Renovation of the Heart for students. (I'm not usually a fan of "for teen" editions but in this case it was probably prudent.)

I said all that to encourage anyone to explore the idea of spiritual formation, and especially to check into the book, study, or other resources that have stemmed from Renovation of the Heart. These works have been and continue to be amazing tools in my spiritual growth, and as Billy put it, they "scratch where I itch". I'm happy to recommend them without reservation.

Entertaining Strangers

Last night just as church was ending I became aware of a quiet commotion on the side of the road in front of our sanctuary. A big chartered bus had broken down, and a large group of people in matching purple t-shirts had gathered outside. Soon it became evident that a mass choir had been delivered, quite literally, to our doorstep.

It was hot, so I invited them to come into our fellowship hall where it was cool and we had water and facilities. One of our church guys opened up the coke machine and Billy dug out cookies and chips left over from last week's vacation Bible school. Someone made coffee. We visited while they rested and waited for help to come.

After a little while they gathered around the piano and their pastor, a kind old man, played while they sang soul gospel songs "till the building almost caved in," Elizabeth said. I think she meant they raised the roof. In any case, they led us into the presence of God right there in our old fellowship hall with their bus broken down on the side of the road.

When it came time to leave, they hugged us and thanked us for our hospitality. The thing is that we are probably the ones who received the greater joy. The last lady to leave said, "God is so good. He puts His people everywhere to take care of each other."

There are no coincidences in the Kingdom of God. Their bus could just have easily broken down a mile up the road. But He let it happen right there on a hot Sunday night when church was running a little late. He let us entertain strangers, and as a result we have new friends who are also friends of His.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Urgent Adoption Need-Chinese Baby with Down's Syndrome

Barbara at MommyLife alerts us to the urgent need for sweet baby James in China. James has Down's Syndrome, which means that he would normally be unadoptable. China has not offered children with Down's Syndrome for adoption because they don't believe that anyone would want these sweet special needs babies. If James is not spoken for in the next few days (before July 1st) he will be insitutionalized for life. James' case is setting the precedent for Down's syndrome children in China. If he is not adopted, they will not offer any more children with Down's Syndrome, period.

Since Barbara has four sons with Down's Syndrome (one biological and three adopted), I know this case is close to her heart. God surely has a family for baby James.

One of the most interesting things about this case is that a donor has agreed to fund James' adoption! This is huge in light of the prohibitive cost of international adoptions. Spread the word!

Picture and more info at Mommylife and A Helping Hand

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Borrowers

Growing up some of my favorite books were the fanciful adventures of tiny people called the Borrowers. They made their living by "borrowing" household objects, you know, all those little things that disappear and are never found again.

I think a whole city of Borrowers must have moved in under our floorboards.

Silas has lost three pairs of shoes in as many weeks. Billy's lotion. My concealer. One of Sarah's sandals. Gone.

Actually, I think we really do have a tiny person who has taken our things. I told Billy last night that one of these days we are going to find a collection of items hidden like a puppy buries bones. Except I think our culprit is the 13-month-old who has an obsession with placing one item inside another!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hallmark Movies

We recently subscribed to Sky Angel again after a 5-year hiatus, and far more than the Christian channels, I looked forward to the Hallmark Movie Channel. I hadn't seen many Hallmark movies but I knew they had a reputation for being heartwarming and wholesome. What I wasn't prepared for was all the drama and pathos. Sheesh! Those Hallmark actors must shed more tears on camera than they do in real life. I kid you not, virtually every time we turn that channel on, someone is crying, and if they aren't crying, they are arguing. Sorry, I can't handle all the drama. On the rare occasion that I have time to watch a movie, it's an escape, a way to relax, and I'm not too inclined to relax and escape in a vale of tears. I hear about plenty of real-life tragedies every day without indulging in one somebody made up. OK, all you movie critics and thoughtful people, I admit it--I like nothing better than cheesy comedy. So to my disappointment I don't watch many Hallmark movies.

However, Blackbeard, which debuted Saturday night, is an exception. It's a great action show, fairly predictable, but still with enough unlikely turns that it keeps you guessing a little. It has the right elements of romance, danger, and treachery, with a happy ending. A few people get run through with swords and there are a couple instances of mild profanity, so it may not be for very small children, but overall I really enjoyed it. In fact, I taped it for Billy and we watched it together again last night. You must understand that I rarely watch a movie more than once. I enjoyed it just as much the second time as I did the first time.

So I'm glad to recommend this Hallmark film. It's light but entertaining, and the best part is that it's based at least partly on fact. It's a great family film.

New Fave Shoes

Today's post is mindless clothing chatter, but maybe it will help if you are in the market for new shoes.

I have only four hard and fast rules for how I dress.

1. It must be modest.

2. It must be feminine.

3. It must be culturally appropriate.

4. My husband has to like it.

I have a couple of other rules that are more fluid. One of these is that it must be frugal, or at least worth the price (meaning that if it's a moderately pricey garment, I'll need to wear it for a long time). The other, nine or ten months out of the year, is that it must be COOL. Our summer lasts from April to October if we are lucky. Sometimes it's more like March to November. Then we have fall during December through February. No joke, our leaves turn at Christmas. Ahhh, life in the deep South.

The cool rule can sometimes present a conflict with #1 above, especially when temps are around 100 and humidity is over 90%. Jeans (and I like jeans) are way too hot, and I'm not comfortable wearing shorts. Light cotton capris are OK, but skirts are my mainstay for much of the year. They solve both the modesty challenge and the need for coolness. Which is fine because I love love love skirts. I'm an incurable girly girl, and skirts are so feminine. Plus, cute, inexpensive skirts seem to be easy to find right now.

The only problem with skirts is walking. Walking shoes just look all wrong with a skirt unless it's super sporty. And it's hard to get up any speed with flip flops or slides. I decided that I'd have to try to find some somewhat attractive athletic sandals, but what I ended up with is way better. At our local sports and sporting goods store, I found a pair of dark brown Skecher sport Mary Janes that look cute and feel awesome, plus they will go with almost anything. At least I will not feel like such a dunce when I walk in the neighborhood. You can see them here. At $40 they are a little pricey, but I can already tell that I'll be wearing these so much that the cost per wear will probably come out at only a few cents. (Actually, they are almost $60 at Zappos, I guess I got an excellent deal...But they would still be worth the price.) Some of the reviews say that the only drawback is that the velcro comes undone sometimes, but I haven't found this to be the case, and I'm pretty active. Maybe it depends on your foot shape or how you walk.

In any case, I was delighted to find a feminine shoe that goes with my Summer ensemble. Fashion experts might contend that I'm commiting some kind of fashion faux pas, but I'm not too worried about that. I kind of make up my own fashion anyway. I highly recommend these shoes if you like pretty *and* practical.


OK, I know I'm forever mentioning Barbara Curtis, but hey, she blogs a lot! And it's good stuff! Today she reviews a movie that we loved the first time we watched it as a family--Radio .

Thursday, June 15, 2006


This New York Times article discusses the risks associated with choosing not to breastfeed your baby.

Hat Tip: Kristen

And this one is a response by Emily Yoffe, who was drawn and quartered by her readers after suggesting that a woman reconsider her choice to never have children.

Hat tip: Mr. Crunchy Con

Obviously we're talking about choices here; not those who cannot breastfeed or have children due to circumstances beyond their control. But for those of us who have a choice, these thoughts are worth considering.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday: Weekend Meals

I have to credit Billy with this tip because he thought of it. He's saved my weekend sanity. Especially since we are a pastor's family, Sunday is a crazy day. More times than not we ended up with sandwiches or some very skimpy lunch after coming in from church. I got tired of stressing over Sunday lunch and evening snack. For the past few weeks we've been loading the grill on Saturday night with chicken legs and thighs. I cook a whole 10lb. bag or more. Then I cook a big pan of brown rice, a big pot of veggies (like squash from our garden or purple hull peas), and fresh bread and jello would be nice too (although I haven't gotten that far yet). We eat it Saturday night and there are plenty of leftovers for Sunday too. Nothing like not having to cook on Sunday afternoon! And it sure beats a PB&J!

Hosted by Shannon

Monday, June 12, 2006

Healthful Changes

Barbara Curtis of Mommylife fame has great encouragement and exhortation on weight loss today. She's over halfway to her goal of losing 100 pounds, and her great attitude is an inspiration. One of her encouragements is not to put weight loss off, even if you only need to lose 10 or 15 pounds. In another post she said something along the lines of, I wish I had lost it when I only had 10 pounds to lose.

Well, I have a few pounds hanging around from Sarah's birth. If I lost 10 pounds I'd be happy; if I lost 15 pounds I'd be ecstatic. I struggled with my weight all through my teen years, going from chubby to downright fat, losing a bunch of weight and then gaining it back in a matter of weeks. Since weight loss has always been hard for me, I blamed it on a "slow metabolism" but discovered when I met Billy that it was mainly an unhealthy attitude toward food and an inactive lifestyle. The year between our meeting and marriage I lost 20 pounds without dieting because I was busy and food wasn't so important any more. I worked out like a crazy woman when I was pregnant with Elizabeth and had no residual weight gain; after Silas, I lost it within a few months...Breastfeeding requires a lot of energy! This time it's been more stubborn, probably due to thyroid issues.

I had already begun some good changes, but Barbara's words today spurred me on. I'm not a big fan of dieting (although I realize that in some cases a diet is needed to jump-start one's weight loss). I'm just trying to regain some of the good habits that I let slip away over the last few years so that the extra weight will go away and stay away. Weight loss is still harder for me than for some other people, but I know it's not impossible. Here are a few of those good habits:

Walk daily. This has been easy this week because we walk to the kids' swimming lessons. I plan to keep up the walking even after lessons are over.

Drink at least 2 quarts of water daily. I didn't realize how little water I was drinking till I started measuring it. I was taking in only between a pint and a quart each day. And it's hot here! No wonder I felt bad.

Make at least 50% of my diet raw fruits and veggies. This is more of a challenge, and I really fell down over the weekend. But this is the best time of year to start that habit.

Eat only when I'm hungry; eat only till I'm full. Once I truly reached a place in my life where I ate for energy and didn't care about food. In recent times I've slipped back into that "food is my god" mentality. Bottom line, I haven't been appropriating the self-control I have as God's child. It's mine, I just have to take it.

So if you've been tossing around the idea of making healthful changes, run over and check out Barbara's thoughts. I hope you'll be as encouraged as I am!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


This has been a week of exceptional blessings. I thought I’d list them here (but I might have to come back and add some, because there have been so many I might forget)…They are in no particular order.

1. Swimming lessons for Elizabeth and Silas and violin lessons for Elizabeth within walking distance of our house.

2. A Select Comfort sleep number bed, which God graciously provided for us. This has brought an end to Billy’s constant back pain and nightly insomnia.

3. God’s amazing provision in a several other important ways as well!

4. Summer produce. Yellow squash from our garden. Vine ripened tomatoes from friends and neighbors, perfect for tomato sandwiches…mmmmm…Watermelon and cantaloupe.

5. The privilege of my role as pastor’s wife, and because of that, the privilege of being part of helping others grow and heal.

6. A related item—I’m so grateful to know people who love Jesus, desire to do right, and have lovely teachable spirits, who are allowing God to change and grow them. It’s such a joy to see people mature in Christ. I don’t think they realize what an inspiration and encouragement they are to me.

7. And another related item. This week has been a defining time for me as I’m able to look back and see significant spiritual, emotional, and social growth over the past ten years. I’ve wanted to grow. I’ve been able to see small incremental steps—but I haven’t felt changed in any kind of big way, at least not like I wanted to be. This week brought into focus just how far God has brought me, even during those days when I was confused or struggling and felt like I was at a spiritual stalemate. I realize now that even those times that felt spiritually barren were part of God’s plan to grow me into the woman He wants me to be, a process that will last forever. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

8. God’s beautiful people. I can say without a doubt that the Body of Christ has been one of the greatest catalysts for my spiritual development. As imperfect as we humans are, those who reflect Jesus in quiet ways have a more powerful influence than they know.

9. Kind neighbors and friends who spontaneously stop by and let us drop in on them too.

10. Garage sale bargains. I got an armload of beautiful dress clothes for less than $4 this morning, from a garage sale next door.

Isn’t God good?!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It's Boys' Week!

Sherry at Semicolon is writing a series of posts about boys this week. I especially appreciate her book recommendations for little boys. It's easy to find girly books, but more difficult to find books that will hold a little boy's attention. Or maybe it's just that as a woman I gravitate to girly books and don't notice the boy books as much. In any case, I was glad to be reminded of some books I have that my little son will surely enjoy, and I was also glad to hear about new ones. We love books at our house! In fact we are running out of space in our book shelves...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Half a dozen times or more in the past couple weeks, I’ve been confronted with the idea of how Christians view homosexuality and how we should respond to the growing acceptance of it in our culture. The most recent incident involved an email forward applauding an abrasive, sarcastic letter written by a Christian to a major television network after a recent pro-homosexual episode of a popular show.

A few years ago I, too, would have applauded this man’s “courage” in “standing up for the truth”. Today it just made me sad. Based on the defensive and equally sarcastic reply from the network representative, the confrontational letter did absolutely nothing but validate the world’s view of Christians as narrow-minded, unloving bigots. Let's just say that the representative was less than compelled to re-think his position.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for standing up for the truth. But I think it can be done with winsomeness and grace, and especially with love toward fellow sinners made in the image of God for whom Christ died. I wonder sometimes if our goal is to prove our “rightness” and gain political clout, or if our real motive is what it should be—to graciously share the gospel in a way that will allow God to change hearts and lives, no matter how the sinner has transgressed. I’m afraid we lose sight sometimes of our own brokenness and need for God’s grace, simply because we see our sins as less than the sin of homosexuality or some other behavior that repulses us. We often have a double standard when it comes to sin and grace.

I’m not an expert on this, so I’ll leave my thoughts at that and provide a few links to those with greater wisdom than I. Let’s just examine our heartsand our resuting actions, and extend to a broken world God's love and grace.

Award-winning article by Barbara Curtis

Loving Homosexuals

Exodus International

Dennis Jernigan's Story

Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love by Mardi Keyes

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I was already mulling over thoughts about putting people on pedestals this morning when I found myself in Acts 14 in my daily Bible reading time. In this story, the Apostle Paul and fellow Christ-follower Barnabas heal a lame man in the city of Lystra. The people of the city are so amazed that they decide Paul and Barnabas are gods and attempt to make a sacrifice to them. The story goes on to tell about how Paul and Barnabas intervened with passionate insistence that the city-dwellers not sacrifice because they, like the people of Lystra, are merely men; they plead with the crowd to turn from idol-worship to serve the one true living God.

Aren’t we so often like the people of Lystra? It’s human nature I guess. We see a person or church or group who impresses us, we admire them, and we put them on a pedestal. We probably don’t say that we are going to worship them and I doubt that we attempt to make literal sacrifices, but it’s easy to hold them up as almost unable to do wrong. We see them as the person or group with all the answers.

The reasons we admire them can be many. Maybe they seem to have (or claim to have) perfect children, an idyllic lifestyle, great talent, beauty and charm, super-spirituality, or some other kind of success that we don’t see in others. To us, they seem very close to perfect. And so we put them on a pedestal no mortal should occupy. We hang on their every word. We can't get enough of their company (whether in real life or virtually). When questions arise we find ourselves saying, “_________ says…” We refuse to believe that they can make mistakes or unwise decisions or have unbalanced beliefs, although we might give lip service to such. We don’t think of it as worship, but it becomes worship. Rather than following Christ, the only person who should be pedestalized in our hearts and lives, we follow people.

The results are often tragic. We suffer guilt because we cannot live up to the “perfect” standard of those we pedestalize (although the standard is often not the fault of the others; it’s frequently our own perception). We sacrifice our individuality because we are trying to be like them. We fail to maintain our personal connection with God because we constantly look to the subject of our adoration for answers. We feel the need to keep up a false front around them so they don’t think ill of us in their perceived perfection, and in some ways that can make us hypocritical and fake. It’s possible to smother those we admire with too-frequent presence and adoration, or weary others with our incessant praise of them. And then when they fail, as all humans will, we are devastated, crushed. Sometimes it even causes us to question our faith. Had we maintained a realistic view of their humanity, their need for God’s grace right alongside our own, we would not be so surprised or disappointed when they turn out not to be perfect.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been guilty of it many times myself. My problem was that I looked to others for acceptance, validation, inspiration, support, love, and answers. I looked to people to fulfill what only God can fulfill. Consequently, I was always insecure and disappointed. I think I can safely say now that I’m secure enough that I’m not a follower of a particular friend, child-training “expert”, ministry, Bible teacher, or church. I identify with several people and groups, whom God provides to give amazing support, love, and blessing (most notably my husband and family and my church). My precious husband, my children, the family of Christians to whom I belong bring me unspeakable joy—but I realize that they need God’s grace just as I do. I find my ultimate fulfillment in Jesus. I’m a Christ-follower. That is enough.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Support Small Business!

Especially if that business is Small Meadow Press . I ordered some of Lesley's Jane Austen Missives for my sister's birthday and I'm impressed. I placed my order by phone; Lesley was absolutely delightful and her service was excellent. She got the order out that day, and based on my sister's response, her products lived up to my expectations. She will be receiving more business from me in the future!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Poor Baby

I've heard that actors and class clowns are often babies of the family. Observing my own kids I think I know why. Our current baby is only one year old, but she is already participating in make-believe with her older brother and sister. She doesn't know it, of course, and she understands even less that she is always cast in the insignificant or bad guy roles. So far in the past few days they have assigned her the roles of Carrie (the baby sister in Little House on the Prairie), their dog Moreover (from the movie Biscuit Eater), the fish they "caught" and were about to "filet" ("We're being gentle Mama!"), Mr. Pendergast (the scary man on Pollyanna) and Miss Minchen (the evil boarding school headmistress in The Little Princess). If this is normal, and I'm sure it is, there must be just a few options for the baby. The most creative would be to beat these character casters at their own game. I'll be interested to see the day when Sarah realizes what's going on and turns the tables. She might highjack the leading role. Or she might just shrug her shoulders and say, "Supporting actors always get the best parts anyway."